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Will Using Human Delivery Driver's Become Negligence?

Bloomberg just published an article about the first US test of a self-driving tractor trailer. The test was conducted by an Uber-owned company and saw a tractor deliver beer for AB-InBev along 120 miles of interstate in Colorado. Companies are interested in this technology because it can save money and prevent crashes.

The Bloomberg article states that AB-InBev said it could save $50 million a year with self-driving trucks. Self-driving trucks require fewer stops for driver rest, meaning they could be on the road longer making more deliveries.

Self-driving cars have been proven to be far safer than human drivers. As reported in Tech Times in January of 2016, Google commissioned Virginia Tech to measure how much safer self-driving cars were than human-driven cars. The article states, “After the adjustments were made, the Virginia Tech study estimates that human-driven vehicles find themselves in 4.2 crashes per million miles, as opposed to self-driving cars that find themselves in 3.2 crashes per million miles.”

With evidence pointing to self-driving trucks being safer and cheaper in the long-run, does a company expose itself to liability if it uses human drivers who get into crashes? The answer to this question would ultimately be in the hands of a jury. Juries determine the standards we expect people and businesses in our community to follow. But with clear evidence that self-driving cars are safer, and little evidence to the contrary, I believe the time will come very soon when jury finds a company negligent for using human delivery drivers.